REFUGEE Day, last Wednesday, highlighted the biggest refugee crisis since the Second World War with the number forcibly displaced reaching its highest for the sixth year in a row. The UNHCR report shows that there were 68.5 million forcibly displaced people in the world, including 25.4 million refugees! This is a direct result of imperialist wars, where airstrikes, invasions and occupations of Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan and imperialist intervention into Syria have caused millions to flee for their lives.
Refugee Day has been created by the United Nations ‘to celebrate the resilience and courage of refugees and their contributions to society’. The reality facing tens of millions of refugees is the polar opposite. In the US, we have seen screaming children being torn from their parents after being caught trying to cross the Mexican border and caged like wild animals.
Fortress Europe’s attitude is pull up the drawbridge and let refugees and their families drown in the sea. More than 7,000 men, women and children have drowned attempting to cross the Mediterranean in flimsy rubber boats trying to get to Italy or Greece since the start of this year alone. Their only hope is to be rescued by charities and NGOs who patrol the seas trying to save as many as they can.
However, Italy is to seize two ships from refugee rescue charity Mission Lifeline for allegedly ‘breaking the law’. Italy’s interior minister and far-right League leader, Matteo Salvini, said yesterday that Mission Lifeline’s rescue ships should be seized and ‘its crew stopped’. The Italian government accused the German NGO of ‘breaking the law’ by saving over 220 refugees on Thursday. So it’s ‘illegal’ to save their lives and ‘legal’ to let them drown. This is the true nature of barbaric EU capitalism.
Meanwhile, Germany’s ‘open door’ policy to welcome over a million refugees has been brought to an abrupt end. Germany’s new interior minister, Horst Seehofer, is pushing ahead with vicious plans to hold asylum seekers in detention centres and send them back to the country in which they were first registered. So much for the greatly lauded ‘freedom of movement’ of the European Union!
Furthermore, the EU now does not want that first country in which refugees are registered to be Italy, Greece or any EU state, but Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Niger and Morocco. In other words ‘send them back to where they came from, and prevent them from entering the EU’.
The EU plans are to ‘upsteam’ the ‘problem of migration’ to Africa, setting up registration centres there and to do this without even getting the agreement of the African countries involved. Dimitris Avramopoulos, the ‘European commissioner for migration’, said the EU wanted to ‘intensify cooperation’ with Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Niger and Morocco, as he announced the intention to create a ‘regional disembarkation scheme’.
All six African countries have announced that they have not agreed to this and are boycotting the summit to discuss the issue. French President Macron and the UK’s PM May had a summit meeting in January 2018 whose joint communique set the anti-refugee campaign into motion. It stated: ‘Upstream in the migration route, we will seek to support and empower host governments and communities to work across borders and address migration across the entire route through joint work in countries of origin and transit in regions such as North, East and West Africa.’
This is how the EU intends to deal with the ‘migration problem’ at source, or ‘upstream’ as they put it, in North Africa. The workers of the EU must answer this barbaric EU attack. They must welcome all refugees and rise up to smash the EU which is a gigantic conspiracy of bankers and bosses against the workers of Europe and the world.
The UK must leave the EU now! The workers of the EU must rise up with revolutions to overthrow the EU, and replace it with the Socialist United States of Europe. This will bring about a socialist Europe which will outlaw the bosses and bankers and welcome all refugees and all workers.
Its battle cry will be ‘Workers of the World Unite. You have nothing to lose but your chains’.